Help, Yessss, Lotion & Love

There are some commonly spoken phrases in our house. A growing mind of a two-year old, rapidly expanding her ideas, vocabulary and opinion are sometimes astonishing to keep up with. The following is a list I have compiled of the top five most common statements from both Parker and her mommy.

PJParker’s Top 5

1.) “How bout… this one.”
She says so thoughtfully and clearly to make decisions. Parker likes to express choices about clothes, food and what to watch on Netflixs. Back in my babysitting days, when Barney was new, I would get so annoyed with the singing purple dinosaur and swear when I had kids they would be banned from this programming. Unfortunately, a decade and a half later, I am eating my words as my tiny tot politely points out the forbidden show requesting “How bout… this one.”

2.) “Yea… yessss.”
My husband is encouraging Parker to enunciate and use proper English. I wholeheartedly agree this is important, even though I am most often the one to slip and be a poor example to her with my lazy communication. In the last few weeks especially he has been retraining her to not say yea, and she is quickly beginning to correct herself. The adorable part of her correction is the long s sound which follows her yes’.

3.) “Hey that’s mine.”
This is spoken with a bit of a toddler lisp, comes with a frown and on the rare occasion a small tantrum. Sharing is tough.

4.) “Parry Rock” or “Da Lacy Sung”
In my effort to break from Yo Gabba Gabba, Sesame Street or Barney, I figured a girl who loves music and dancing might also love music videos. We have the music choice channel where we play videos on demand, she has her favorites and doesn’t like trying out new ones unless the beat immediately catches her attention. Two favorites she requests are LMFAO’s Party Rock and Bruno Mars’ Lazy Song. Not all the lyrics are appropriate for kids, though I figured she wouldn’t remember or know what it was about. I thought there could be no harm… Turns out she really enjoys the dancing and tries to mimic what she sees in the videos. Let’s just say we are all done with the Lazy Song now.

5.) “Halp you peas mommy.”
Parker does love to help me in whatever chore I am trying to conquer. She even got her very own play cleaning set for Christmas so she can follow along with my sweeping and scrubbing. However, this phrase is not about helping mommy. I figured out she learned to say “help you” when she needs help since I would catch her struggling in a task and questions “Can Mommy help you?”

Mommy’s Top 5

PJ&mom 1.) “Is that baba broken?”
Parker is clinging to her last two pacifiers and I am fully prepared for the end of them. They are both gnarley little pieces of plastic with the ends chewed off. She has chosen to throw other ones away once they were in the same condition, so I ask her everyday if they are broken and ready to throw away. One night she was on her way to the trash can and then decided it was not quite broken yet, agh so close!

2.) “Are you doing a stink stink?”
I ask Parker when she has separated herself to a corner or behind furniture with the concentrated pooping look on her face. She shakes her head no, despite my encouragement of trying it on the big girl potty. Then as I am changing her diaper after the fact, she sometimes requests what she calls to sit on the “poo poddy” not understanding it’s a little late for it now. I’m sure there will be more potty training adventure stories to come.

3.) “Lotion is not for eating.”
My day is filled with “no,” “stop,” and “don’t” type statements. I try to fill in the rest with choices or an explanation. For some reason I have to repeat this one too often since PJ has acquired a taste for lotion.

4.) “Give me some sugar.”
Parker is affectionate without announcement sometimes, and there are lots of times when we request it of her. She withholds kisses in a teasing manner sometimes, eventually giving in. The best is when I can trick her telling her I don’t want her sloppy kisses and wiping them away, then the sugar just keeps on coming.

5.) “You are beautiful” and “I love you.”
Browsing through my mom’s Pinterest quotes the other day one caught my eye, I’m not on it yet because I keep hearing about how addictive it is and I’m kind of scared to take on another online hobby. The quote said something about the statements you tell your children will become their internal voices later. This made me smile to know I am constantly telling my little girl she is beautiful and she is loved.

Color Comparison

I know, I know… Don’t compare your child to others. This is advise and knowledge given to parents all the time to calm irrational thinking about a child’s health, developmental progress, intelligence, creativity, athleticism etc. I understand my child is only two and has years to learn and grow. She will have areas where she excels above other children her own age and there will be other areas she may be average or below. Believe me, with my history of obtaining “below average” scores on standardized tests, from personal experience I greatly value not comparing. However, there has to come a point when you might potentially learn something important, something missing or a major discrepancy between what is normal and what you see happening… Right?

Here’s my confession, I have been stressing for 6 months pushing colors on my baby. It all started last spring, months before her second birthday when we hosted a play group at our home. One little brainiac friend of hers only a month older, was easily naming colors when prompted by her mom. I figured I’d boost up my tutoring of colors and within the next 30 days and she would be right up to speed with her smarty pants friends.

30 days came and went, the whole hot summer went by, her second birthday came and went… This whole time adding to the list of other 2-year-olds accurately responding “red, blue, yellow” to the command of “name that color.” I coached with blocks, in the bathtub with toys and with crayons. I tried naming, matching, providing choices and asking yes or no.

Her complete and utter refusal to get involved in the process had me worried maybe she really couldn’t see what I was talking about. Of course she wouldn’t know which color I was talking about if all along she was seeing shades of gray. Really all I was accomplishing was torturing a colorblind child?

In December I had an opportunity to get together with my cousin, his wife and their big eyed, squeaky voiced nearly two and a half-year old princess. He relayed the same stress I was feeling and admitted play-Doh was the incentive for his daughter to identifying colors. reinvigorated with hope, and coincidentally a freshly purchased barrel of play-doh from Christmas – I was ready to get back to color training.

Parker practicing color with play-doh

Parker practicing color with play-doh

The next week Parker was enthusiastic about her play-Doh, she appeared to be catching onto the idea of responding with the name of a color. I held up the yellow play-doh and asked “What color is this?”

“Lellow,” she said to receive applause and a congratulatory high-five. Testing again, I held up the blue container and again asked for the color. She paused before replying “Lellow.”

“No, try again PJ.” I said patiently.

“Lellow-ink?”

And so it turns out, she says yellow for everything. And as if yellow-pink were a color, this is always her second choice. Her other frequent responses to color related lessons are “I unno Mommy,” and when I tell her the color answer I was looking for “Oooooh, I see Mommy.”

Progress maybe, and yet nowhere near where many of her two-year old buddies are at with their art skills. Again, I know I shouldn’t compare, yet since we happened to be at the pediatrician earlier this week I went ahead and asked. Dr. Loeb reassured us not to worry about color blindness and typically kids don’t differentiate colors until around the age of 3. Whew, I guess I will give Parker another 8 months to study up!

Cookie Monster

Parker disappeared from the family gathering in the living room. “Parker,” I hollered only to catch her out of the corner of my eye pulling herself up on the bar stool in the kitchen to reach the contents on the counter. She had been eyeing the tray of cookies and now with everyone distracted, her two year old independence was about to be rewarded.

I made it to her just in time to pull the tray out of her reach, though, since she gave it such a good effort I let her pick one out. She immediately choose a peanut butter blossom – the kind with a Hersey kiss in the middle. Parker goes for the chocolate first and eats the cookie second. After her treat we resumed activity with everyone else in the living room: playing with cousins, checking out new toys and clearing the debris of wrapping paper and boxes.

Later I was called back into the kitchen by my brother and my mom. Parker also joined and again pulled herself up on the bar stool to position herself next to her big cousins. They pointed out how 3 cookies were missing bites out of the top of the chocolate kiss and all knew who was likely responsible, my little cookie monster.

Parker reached for a sugar cookie and got one off the tray before Nana could intervene. “You need to ask mommy first Parker,” She told her in a loving Nana way. Parker looked right at me with her big brown eyes maybe thinking of asking permission.

Instead she said “Thank you Mommy.” And took a big bite of her cookie.

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Not your average holiday letter.

One thing I love the most about this time of year is all of the mail! The tradition of catching up with old friends by a Christmas card, a family photo or yearly update with a good old fashioned stamp on it makes me smile, plus fresh frame-worthy pictures to update frames is a bonus. Snail mail anytime of the year is welcome, though, I know I send and receive the most in the month of December.

The holiday letter is kind of a funny thing to me. When a simple card or picture will not do, individuals and families might opt to generate a quick synopsis of the last 12 months to update friends and family who might not otherwise hear all of the news flashes throughout the year. I’m not sure when my mom thought this would be necessary to write one for our family, though, I remember the year I did not approve. In 1996 I was 14 years old and read over her draft of the family holiday letter. I’m sure she highlighted many major events, boasted about how wonderful her kids were and used proper sentence structure and punctuation, yet it seemed to make us even more boring than we actually were. By pointing out the yawn factor, she challenged me to come up with something better. The product ended up being a sarcastic summary of life in our household and I was required to continue writing holiday letters until long after all of us kids were grown.

A few years back my mom’s friend Sue mailed me a stack of my holiday letters she had been saving. Her note said she had been doing some deep cleaning and heard I hadn’t been keeping copies. I guess rather than holding onto the letters themselves I will purge them onto the internet to be able to look back on and maybe inspire someone else to create entertaining holiday notes. Starting with letter #2.
-letter1997
-letter1998
-letter1999
-letter2000
-letter2001
-letter2002
-letter2003
-letter2005
-letter2006-letter2007
-letter2008
-letter2009

Amazing how my mom folded each letter identically over the years, huh? Now I am anxiously awaiting the mailman’s arrival!

Bedtime Stories

Parker with Muno, one of two “Yo Gabba Gabba” characters she sleeps with every night.

Her second birthday was celebrated the first week of October, and we are oh so thankful for some shreds of baby we are hanging on to.  Mainly sleeping in a crib.  At some point parents have to make a decision about when the timing is right to make this transition to a big kid bed.  Some kids, like my nephew (now 2 1/2) make this choice for their parents by making it impossible to secure them safely in a crib.  Parker, on the other hand, has proudly called me in to her room saying “Look Mommy” as she got herself stuck straddling the railing with no where to go – and has not done it since.

In the last few weeks she has given me reason to hope she can stay in her crib until she goes off to college. I’d hate to think of all of the re-training of bedtime rules which will have to be implemented and reinforced when the time comes for her to begin sleeping in the toddler bed. Needless to say this might also trigger the end of nap-time, I just can’t imagine her staying mattress bound if toys are within sights and reach in her bedroom.

In the past few weeks there have been several nights of waking up after being asleep for a few hours. The first night I went in to find her baba (pacifier) and remind her it was bedtime. A few minutes later my husband gave the same thing a try. Finally for the third visit I returned and laid her back down reminding her it is time to sleep. As a final plea to get me to come back after her door was closed I could hear desperately “Mommy, peas, Foofa needs you.” As if her stuffed character resembling her beloved TV show cast could get me to come running back in. When this cry didn’t work she gave in to a good night’s sleep.

Last night my husband went in to check on Parker when he heard her calling several hours after she had gone to bed. “Wheremommyat,” she wanted to know.

“Going night night, PJ, it’s night night time.” He informed her. Only to be further interigated about the whereabouts of all the family pets to hear the same response. “Harper’s going night night, Macy’s going night night too. Everyone’s going night night Parker.”

He talked to her a bit more telling her he loves her and asking her if she loves him. Parker said “Yes,” and added, “Mommy loves me.” (insert the sound of my heart melting here.) I guess she really does hear me when I tell her these words on a daily basis.

Unfortunately it didn’t end with this for Parker, after Daddy left the room we continued to tune in on the monitor to hear various songs, pleading for us to come back and play, laughing at herself and the discouraged “ahh man” remarks when she was giving in to sleep. She sang “Be nice to everyone” from the TV show Yo Gabba Gabba and it sounded as if she was acting out “Ring Around The Rosey” while she sang it. The other song I remember hearing is her own version of a children’s song, though, rather than singing Thumbkin or Pointer, she fills in with mommy or daddy.

“Where is Mommy, Where is Mommy? Here I am, here I am. How are you today sir, very well I thank you. Run away, run away.” My ear is finely tuned to her language so I know what she is singing often by the melody more than the words.

Well, the new bed is due to arrive next month yet I don’t know how ready we will be to use it. Now is as good a time as any to give it a try.  I’m just crossing my fingers she will stay in her big girl bed when she is feeling restless and wants to sing.  And I don’t even want to consider what life will be like when she grows out of naps.

Baby Doll, Parker

“Baby,” she asked as quickly as her feet hit the ground this morning.  “Wha es baby?”  She looked and gestured towards her play cradle in the corner next to her crib for her doll.  Parker is the third generation to play with this cradle, my grandpa originally made it for my mom.

“I don’t know where you put her, where is baby?”  I replied to ensure she knew I understood her inquiry.  Her language is rapidly developing in the past month and it’s amazing to witness progress from one day to the next.  She is formulating her own statements and questions in a way she only used to be able to repeat after hearing.  And for each exclamation she is able to create it is met with equal or greater insistence for someone to verbalize acknowledgement of her new found vocabulary.

When properly rested she can communicate almost anything, both with her language and continued use of signing.

“Maybe baby is in mommy’s room,”  I encouraged her to go look.

The doll could not be found, though, she was happily distracted by a bottle of body spray her daddy left within reach while shrugging  “Wha es baby, I unno wha es baby?”  She easily gives up the bottle of spray as I sent her to the kitchen to search again.  My last memory of the baby doll was Wednesday evening when she got upset because the doll didn’t swallow the jello dessert she was trying to share with it and we had to wash it’s face.  Again a reminder of why I shouldn’t try to wash dishes while she is eating.

A minute later Parker returns with the doll, pleased with herself for the safe recovery.  She carts the baby off to her room and back to the cradle to tuck the doll in.  Shortly after I hear a small thump and whimpers from Parker.  In the corner of her room I can see she was attempting to climb into the cradle herself when the bottom fell out.  When I was two I got in the cradle with my baby dolls too, although, after three generations of play the wood and glue is just not holding up the same.  

I crouched down to gently remind Parker the cradle is only for the doll and not for Parker while I reassembled it back together.  When it was ready for use again I helped her put the doll back in place and tucked under the blanket.  At this point she tried to tell me “Pawker, Pawker, Pawker,”  pointing straight down into the crib.

Curious of what she was trying to tell me I guessed.  “Did you name your baby doll Parker?”  My guess was obviously wrong.

She gave me a very serious frown and bawled up her fist to use her thumb pointed towards herself.  As if to say Are you stupid, I’m Parker.  

 

Camp Of Frogs & Fish

Trying to eliminate unnecessary clutter, I began sorting through an old box of letters.  I believe I have unnecessarily saved every letter, folded school note, and card I apparently ever received, thus creating plenty of unnecessary clutter.  Going through old mail is like a time capsule of my life and while I can purge a lot of junk, some of these treasures I just can’t let go.  At least if I clutter some internet space with it, I might be able to let go of the paper.

This card I got from my brother while I was away at Girl Scout Camp.  It was a thrilling feeling to hear my name called to get mail, even if I was only away a few days.  And in his most careful cursive (probably the best handwriting I have seen from him – even 20 years later) he wrote a sincere brotherly note.
Girl Scout Camp was full of songs, hiking back and forth across camp grounds and giggling with new friends.

I remember feeling like tiny frogs blanketed the grass outside of our cabins.  If they had been crickets I might have run screaming between the cabin and the bathroom across the grassy knoll.  Since they were amphibian creatures, and babies at that, I carefully took every step to make sure they got to hop to safety before my monstrous 9-year-old foot reached the earth.  Not only was the frog population so high, I can’t forget about the sheer numbers of fish in the lake either.

For each day at the camp, our group would have a rotation at the lake for swimming.  On the first day it was required to swim from one dock to the other for the lifeguards to judge what level swimmer we were and how far we would be allowed to swim in the lake.  I was overly confident about my swimming abilities as I jumped in for my test.  Immediately I began feeling not alone in the water, one object brushing against my leg, then another and then my arm.  With every kick and paddle through the water I was feeling fish also trying to occupy that space.  My easy aquatic technique quickly turned to floundering to stay afloat, slowly making my way to the other dock disgusted by the lake and its fearless inhabitants.  Despite my uneasy approach they gave me permission to swim to a certain distance in the water to which I said “No thanks.”  And stayed on the beach.

Can’t help it, sleepy farts are funny.

A five AM wake up call occurred Saturday and Sunday morning this weekend on our trip to Des Moines for a wedding.  Our tiny tot, Parker, usually goes to sleep easily and sleeps in late in the comfort of her own crib.  When she sees us sleeping in the same room, as we did in the hotel, it’s game on for partying late into the night and a restless nights’ sleep.

Two mornings in a row her wake up call started with a slow whine, and while both of us likely heard it from the beginning neither of us stirred.  Rolling over, talking to her or even taking a deep breath might indicate readiness to get up with her…  Instead I prayed silently she would nod back off to sleep.  The intermittent whining begins to lengthen and get louder, soon Parker is rubbing her legs back and forth against the pack and play out of boredom.  She begins rolling around and finally sits up, I don’t open my eyes and hold my position as asleep.

Her whimpering language is not one of being scared, needing to be changed or sad.  She very clearly was crying “I’m awake and I see you there in bed and want to be there too.”

Hats off to parents who prefer co-sleeping, it’s painfully difficult for me to sleep in bed with my toddler.  Parker wiggles, squirms and most often ends up asleep sideways in bed between me and my husband.  So at 5AM evaluating the situation in a half sleeping state, I understand picking her up and letting her come into bed will only reinforce her waking up and getting into bed with us at every opportunity we are sleeping in the same room.  My husband and I alternate begging her to lay down and go back to sleep.  I wondered if she would wake up the rest of the 24th floor hotel patrons before she would give up and go back to sleep.

stretched out on the king-sized bed.

Knowing the stubborn streak of genes she inherited, “giving up” is not in this girl’s capabilities.  Reluctantly, I gave in and put her in bed Saturday morning, Sunday morning my husband was the first to give in.  Our silence encouraged her to remain silent from this point forward, although she tried her hardest to wake us up to play.  She climbed on top, put her nose to my nose, jumped between us and playfully fell into the pillows.  I quietly let her know she would have to lay down or go back to her own bed.  Her under two-year old mind understood her choices and she lay her head on my pillow, then on my arm, then on my stomach, then on her daddy – tossing and turning for over an hour until she finally fell back into much needed slumber.

The second morning was the same as the first, with one hilarious outtake which made it all worth bringing Parker to bed.  Somewhere between 5AM and 6:30AM my husband and I lay facing each other with Parker between us.  I watched her roll from my arms to position herself leaning against her daddy with her back side parallel with his stomach.  Almost immediately when she gets herself to this position she begins passing gas, the kind of toot which gets drawn out into a row of highly audible puffs.  And when she is done with this manuever she just as quickly rolled out of the position.  It was as if she had plotted this prank on her daddy, and the hilarity of the situation is it is exactly the kind of prank her daddy would think is funny.  Sleep deprived and slightly delirious the laughter erupted from me despite knowing I shouldn’t encourage my baby intentionally farting on people.  It made me chuckle the whole ride back to Kansas City Sunday afternoon and still now thinking about it I can’t help to giggle.

So tired from her early morning play, we had to wake up Parker to get to a late breakfast date.

If My Dogs Attended School, They’d Be In Special Ed.

I love our dogs, they are a part of our family.  And they are oh so special.  Macy is a mid-sized terrier, loyal, agile, anxious and stubborn x10.  Harper is nearly 90 pounds and although he just turned 3 he seems all puppy, also extremely loyal.  This week’s walk in the park is a prime example of the nut bag behavior I deal with for these lovable clowns.

In lue of getting a work out in at home, pilates with a toddler on the hip is impossible, I figured an escape to nature would serve the same purpose and be fun for all.  I loaded up baby and pups for a ride to our favorite dog park – Shawnee Mission Park.  The parking lot was rather empty on this Tuesday morning, which worked out fine for me I was able to open the back and let the dogs run straight to the gate without leashes.

The dog park area is large in comparison to other parks we have gone to, there is a long wide path down the middle flanked with grassy areas on either side and wooded areas beyond that.  Although there are paths down towards the wooded areas, we have always seemed to stay in the middle as it is the quickest way to the water.  My dogs love to be social with other dogs, although they lack social etiquette and don’t quite get it when other dogs are annoyed with their jovial nosiness.  My husband and I haven’t dedicated adequate time to training our dogs, although, we are pretty proud of them coming when we call (eventually).  On our last trip to the dog park another dog accidentally knocked Parker to the ground, the shock made her cry and our dogs immediately retreated from their playful fun to lay down in front of their baby to protect her.

The dogs and Parker were so happy to be out free to run, Parker calling out to her dogs and laughing when they would coming running back towards her.  She alternated between running after them and breaking to be carried.  Needless to say the toddler toddling was not moving fast enough for the dogs.  There were not many other park goers when we first arrived, the dogs greeted fellow pedestrians and pets who passed then happily continued down the path.  Long down the path reaches a wooded area and the trail forks, both sides leading circling to a beach area.  The dogs had been racing forward and back to us until we neared the fork, at this point Macy couldn’t contain her excitement and ran straight out of view towards the water.

Slightly annoyed at her irregular disappearance, I figured no need to worry we would catch up to her.  The beach time was the real purpose of going all the way to Shawnee Mission Park anyway, bringing the dogs out in the heat I knew they would need some time to cool off.  Harper stayed near us, whether to look after the baby or because he is a baby himself – he stayed close.  We took our time and descended the hill down the path I thought was the shortest towards the water.  My memory served me wrong, though the twists and turns eventually got us in sight of the beach to which my daughter exclaimed “Wa wa!”  And finally I was back in sight of my little white terrier sprinting along the shore after a boxer.  A couple more turns and we were at the beach with no sign of Macy.  I called and whistled, no Macy, no boxer and no people.

I knew my anxious mutt probably followed the other park goer and his pooch back up the opposite path when she realized she would be abandoned alone on the beach.  I pleaded with Harper, as if he could suddenly exhibit Lassie’s intelligence, “Go get Macy.”  to no response…  Lugging extra 30lbs on my hip, and a good for nothing beast at my side we began to climb the opposite path, where Macy had apparently gone to join another family.  By the time I reached the spot back where the fork rejoins at the top my cell phone was ringing and I knew someone was calling from the tag on my dog.

A girl with a rottweiler had Macy leashed and was waiting for me up the path, when she realized Macy didn’t belong to the people she was following she stopped to help.  THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU to the stranger who interviened.  She even said Macy was looking around nervously, of course I knew this was between the mindless bounding over the other dogs…  Want to play with me, where’s my mom, I’m so excited, I’m so scared.  

With our group finally reunited we headed back to the water and Macy dove right in.

Parker was dressed in a swimsuit, I assumed it would be wet and messy on the beach even though I didn’t intend on us actually getting deep in the water.  Therefore, I came without a swim suit and felt comfortable in light summer clothes until Harper made me think I might actually have to dive in for him.

Shawnee Mission Park

Despite being half golden retriever sometimes I wonder if he really has any of that blood in him, he doesn’t retrieve and he is scared to swim.  Harper will run along the water and take advantage of the splashes to cool is black furry body, he doesn’t generally go deep enough to even let the water touch his chest.  On this morning he stood in the water facing the shore when some seaweed must have brushed up against his leg.  Panic set in for my giant and he scooted his body back further into the water.  At this point fear increased more because not only was he feeling something on his leg, now he was getting into deeper water.  I called sympathetic and encouraging calls for him to come to me.  I knew if he continued his backward motion I would have to forego my plan of not getting wet in order to save him.  Yet, back further he went until the water was over his back and he appeared petrified putting his head underwater as if to bite at the lake creature pulling him out.

Just before I could leap forward and make the 10 soaked steps it would have taken to reach him, Macy swam out in front of me and snapped Harper to attention.  It was as if in a split second she taught him how to doggy paddle and he could finally make a forward motion in the water again.  She lead him to the shore and as soon as he could reach he practically leapt over her to get to dry ground again.  Macy suddenly made up for her earlier run off and became the Lassie for the day to save Harper from drowning.  Yea, like I said – they are “special” dogs.

Harper refereed a game of Tug-A-War and stayed close to the shore after his terrifying ordeal.

Daddy & Daughter Demands

My daughter is becoming fiercely independent.  Don’t get me wrong this is exactly the kind of attribute we want to praise and encourage for her to develop and benefit from throughout her life.  Years from now she will have the strength to stand up for herself and others.  She will be able to advocate for what she needs and she will not take no for an answer…  years from now.

Right now, though, this independence is too much for her to handle.  My daughter wants to be on her stool washing dishes, standing on the toilet to brush her teeth, unlocking the front door after errands, turning on the stereo (and turning the volume waaaay up), reading her own books, cooking, and dressing herself.

I was so pleased when she learned how to pick out a pair of shoes, put them on herself, and cooperate with switching when I told her “wrong foot.”  Even when she is opinionated about choosing the pair which didn’t necessarily coordinate with her outfit, her learning this task made me happy.

Not all of the independent tasks she is trying are coming so easily though, and some of them seem to be incredibly frustrating to her nearly 2-year-old mind.  “No” seemed to be absent from her vocabulary up until the last few months and now it seems too many statements or questions are met with a sharp “NO.”  When she gets stuck in a task she cannot figure out there is tantrum and tears, yelling and refusal of help.  One night over the weekend she fought to put on her own pajamas, whining and squirming with them.  When she got her legs stuck in the arm holes the body flailing began, so mad these pajamas could do her so wrong.

I allow her to have as many opportunities to practice her skills as possible.  I stand outside in the heat for an extra five minutes for her to put the key correctly in the lock, I take the time to show her the correct method to get results, I step in to take over when she has lost control and I spend plenty of time cleaning up her messes.  Let’s face it learning can be dirty sometimes.  I wrestle with thoughts of psychology, child development and reinforcing behaviors, how much is too much and am I raising her right…  Quickly snapping back to reality as duty calls for a second bath for the day when she attempted changing her own diaper in her crib after the nap.

Is this the terrible two’s, has it already arrived four months before she even turns the dreaded age?  This stubborn toddler now demanding her way and don’t help, will be challenging my stress level for how long?  When will she grasp the limitations I put in place for her and stop trying to push it?  (dumb question I realized this after I wrote is since there will be evolving changes all the time.)  The hardest part about meeting her demands is when my husband so honestly pointed out “How will you be able to deal with BOTH of us?”  See he exudes much of the same childlike intolerance for when things don’t go his way, minus the body flailing.

There are far more smiles, hugs and expressions of cooperation then there are the no’s, the tears and the tantrums.  With both my hubby and my toddler I will keep practicing patience, choosing by battles and providing loving support when it’s accepted.

And when my husband voluntarily gets up with my daughter in the morning and serves her chicken, pepperoni and cherries for breakfast.  I’ll just say “Thank you for letting me sleep in” and wake up tomorrow.  Life is perfect right now, I wouldn’t have it any other way.